There were a few marquee games this week, sure. On balance, it was supposed to be a boring weekend in college football. Of course, it didn’t end up that way.
Top ten teams tumbled. The coaching carousel began earlier than we thought. Alabama needed every last point they scored to survive its trip to Texas.
Let’s get into action from week two of college football.
TALKIN’ TIDE: BRYCE BEING BRYCE & PENALTIES GALORE
First, the bad: Alabama was flagged for a penalty every three minutes of the first three quarters Saturday. And honestly, it could’ve been worse. Referees seemingly ran out of flags as the Tide’s secondary took every inch of leeway they could to rough up Longhorn receivers.
The good? Bryce Young showed his Heisman mettle in Alabama’s final game-winning drive, waking up the echoes of the Tide’s final series against LSU in 2012.
Then, there’s the ugly. Alabama was a 21-point favorite against Texas and needed every last minute to win by the smallest margin possible. That didn’t discourage a few players from throwing the horns-down gesture, which was admonished by Nick Saban in his post-game trot to midfield.
At the end of the day, Alabama won. They did slip a spot to number two in the polls behind Georgia and there is plenty of room for improvement among the offensive line and secondary. Pre-snap discipline will also be an issue addressed by the coaching staff this week.
That being said, a win is a win. And a win that kicks off at eleven o’clock in the morning is that much sweeter.
ON THE PLAINS: THIS MIGHT BE A LONG SEASON
Auburn didn’t exactly struggle last week against Mercer, but Mercer is Mercer. In week two, the Tigers were lucky to face off against a team that simply can’t play 60 minutes.
San Jose State was a 22-point underdog against Auburn at Jordan Hare. The Spartans put up the kind of fight against Auburn that make us think our lofty preview of a 9-3 season for the Tigers might have been backward.
From quarterback play to questioning whether head coach Bryan Harsin is living on borrowed time, Tiger fans might be in for a long couple of months before losing to Oregon State in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl*.
*It’s the Gasparilla Bowl now, but calling it the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl is funnier. Thank you for understanding.
SUN BELT SUPREMACY: UPSETS GALORE
Two top ten teams were upset this weekend. Notre Dame lost to Georgia Southern and Texas A&M fell to Appalachian State.
We predicted the Aggies to register a record of 3-2 by the time they meet Alabama on Oct. 8. With Miami and Arkansas to run through before they touch down in Tuscaloosa, Texas A&M might even have three losses through five games.
This is a great time to remember that A&M coach Jimbo Fisher makes about $10 million per year. Guaranteed.
OTHER SEC ACTION: THE EAST IS NOT LEAST
We missed out on writing about Brian Kelly losing his own team before conference play began. Lucky for us, the Eastern Division is hotter than it’s been in literally decades.
Will Georgia win the SEC East? Probably. Of course, anything can happen on any given Saturday, and Kentucky or Tennessee or Florida could steal a victory from Kirby this year.
Regardless of the division’s predetermination, what’s so interesting about the SEC East this year is seeing those non-Georgia teams mentioned above jockey for the future.
Josh Heupel has Tennessee exactly where he should have the team in his second year. Every time Kentucky outperforms, it feels like Mark Stoops has hit his ceiling in Lexington – until he takes the team higher.
Although they just dropped a home game to Kentucky, it’s evident that Billy Napier has the Gators on the right track.
It’s the first act in longer story of how the SEC East plays out over the next couple of years. And we have our popcorn ready.